MA Leadership in Sport

The MA Leadership in Sport course provides a focus on leadership development to aid current and future leaders in the sports industry. The nature of the sports industry is rapidly changing and there is a far greater need than ever before for sports development officers and sports coordinators to have core business and management skills which can help them to become the future leaders within the sector.

This Master’s degree in Leadership in Sport will be of particular interest to those who are already working in the sports industry or those who aspire to lead or manage within the sector. A sports context will drive discussions and facilitate learning, but given the transferability of the core leadership and management principles covered, the MA Leadership in Sport would also appeal to current or potential leaders in other sectors, who have an interest in sport and physical activity.

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 2 Years January Glyntaff A
Part-time 3 Years January Glyntaff A
Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 2 Years January Glyntaff A
Part-time 2 Years January Glyntaff A

The MA Leadership in Sport has been designed in close consultation with a range of industry partners to ensure that students see that they are getting value for money studying important modules necessary for their professional development.

These modules include:

  • Research Project
  • Leading People in Sport
  • Sport Business Principles
  • Professional Work-Based Development
  • The High Performance Environment (Optional)
  • Effective Coaching (Optional)
  • Enterprise and Innovation in Sport (optional)
  • Strategic Leadership in Sport (optional)
  • Curriculum Design and Contemporary Approaches to Player Development (optional)
  • Pedagogy in Football (optional)

There will be opportunities to gain insight into different sports organisations and different industries to learn from a range of approaches. Professional work-based development is a module which provides the opportunity for a student to undertake a placement with an organisation (either organised via the student or placement can be arranged by sport academic staff). The course also offers a unique opportunity to complete a paid work placement in the US in partnership with UK International Soccer.

* In order to study this programme and be based in the US, students will have to undertake the 140 placement hours for the Professional Work Based Development module with UK International Soccer (UKIS) and as such become an employee.


There is a unique approach to course delivery via flexible delivery and inclusion of blended learning. The course will offer modules that will be delivered via residential block delivery and online content, to make the course more accessible to those who are working full-time in the industry. Residential block delivery style will adopt a more ‘workshop’ network approach to encourage learning from others across the group. 

The MA Leadership in Sport course is delivered via a range of different methods. These include: face-to-face lectures; tutorials; group discussions; networking; guest lectures; work-based learning; some modules delivered at USW and at various locations across South Wales; online study (via Blackboard, discussion groups, social media).

It is very much focused on gaining the students' views and experiences to guide the group’s learning. All content will be applied in a management or sport context to aid learning, and provide practical ideas and solutions that students can take back to the workplace or apply in the industry.

The student will be expected to attend residential blocked lectures and also watch/complete all online learning materials associated to each selected module. There will normally be about 25 hours of contact time per module. Additional hours of study expected will depend on the student and their level of understanding of the subject material.

Find out about the great research happening in sport, health and exercise science.


Students are required to evidence knowledge and understanding through a diverse range of assessment across the course, including written reports; strategies and plans; case studies; academic critiques; evidence-based analyses; portfolios; group presentations; poster presentations; practical assessments. A research dissertation or professional applied project on a student-chosen topic relevant to the overall parameters of the course.

There are no exams on the MA Leadership in Sport course. All assessments are authentic to the sports industry so students will be completing work which is either related to their actual role and replicates the type of work that they would be expected to complete working in the sports sector at a management level.


The MA Leadership in Sport offers excellent links with industry professionals. For students who are not currently working in the industry but studying this degree, the course will give them an excellent opportunity to work with a range of partners. We have links with nearly 50 organisations in sport – many of whom support students with placements, research projects and mentoring. For those who are already working in the industry, it is hoped that the course will offer additional networking opportunities and sharing of ideas via informal discussions, which can provide huge added benefits on top of their formal learning.

Work-based learning is embedded throughout the course with particular emphasis on the Professional Work Based Development module, where students will work with an employer for 140 hours. For students who are already working in the industry, this could either be with their existing employer or an alternative employer. For students who are not currently working, placements will be arranged to enable them to gain experience in their chosen role.


We have a brand-new specially designed sporting performance facility that focuses on rugby and football coaching. It includes a specialist centre for strength and conditioning with 12 lifting platforms, providing a high performance environment for aspiring athletes. Our full-size indoor 3G pitch is built to the Fifa Pro standard and World Rugby 22 standard. It will guarantee training all year round for our rugby, football and coaching students. We are the only university in England and Wales to offer this facility.

You'll also find a notational analysis suite and over 30 acres of playing fields, including five floodlit pitches. We have a sand-dressed 'astroturf' pitch, as well as a full-size FIFA approved 3G pitch. In addition to these all-weather pitches, there are six grass football pitches, three grass rugby pitches, and a large changing pavilion. Our facilities are regularly used by international professional teams, such as the Wales national football team and Cardiff City Football Club, as well as the touring New Zealand, South Africa and Australia rugby squads. This confirms the high quality of our pitches and the versatility of our equipment.


We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

Entrance to the course normally requires an Honours degree classification of at least a 2:2 in a relevant subject, although related work experience e.g. 3 years working in sports development, leisure management or coaching, can also be taken into account. An interview may be required.

The course welcomes international applicants and requires an English level of IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component or equivalent.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000 per 20 credits

  • Full-time International:  £14500 

  • Part-time UK:  £1000 per 20 credits

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Other: Travel to Residential (Compulsory) *
Students will have to fund the cost of travel to the residential elements of the course.


Funding to help pay for/cover tuition fees and living costs

Whilst you’re studying you’ll have two main costs – tuition fees and living costs. You can get a range of funding to help with these costs.

There are a number of ways to fund your postgraduate study. This can be through student finance, bursaries or help from grants, trusts and charities (see Alternative Funding), or a combination of all three.

Click here to find out more about funding your postgraduate tuition fees and living costs.

Apply directly to the University for the MA Leadership in Sport course.

Admissions statement 

The need for relevant further education for sports professionals continues to increase given the highly competitive nature of the sport industry with hundreds applying for a handful of jobs. Current professionals and new applicants are therefore keen to gain a competitive edge over others for promotion, with postgraduate qualifications providing one such advantage

The MA Leadership in Sport aims and learning outcomes are focused upon students acquiring the knowledge and employability skills to gain employment within the sports sector with the aim of progressing into management roles USW Sport has a strong track record of creating employable graduates within the sports industry and beyond. This emphasis on student employability remains the core focus for the Sport academic subject area.

Graduates can also progress to a PhD or research degree.